They were all doing mathematics and so I could work some more on the book I was writing. I thought it was becoming quite exciting as it already was. This was the fourth notebook it took. Maybe at the weekend I should take a mathematic book home. I could ask if I might take two along, one book a day was possible for sure. Probably the teacher was going to refuse again. He already warned me that if I finished all the books there would be nothing left for me to do this year. And that was his sole reason for refusing. I thought that this didn't make a lot of sense: I had my book and that kept me busy.
Oh no, the teacher was starting to explain multiplying again. And we all had to listen; all included me! It was all so useless. Except for history and geography. The teacher would tell stories about long forgotten times and far away countries. I liked that. But not this! I looked out of the window and thought about what would happen next. Of course the boys would get lost in that cave. I could make them discover a treasure or something like a skeleton. Or maybe a tramp that was sleeping in the back of the cave.
I was still thinking about this when I discovered that they were through with mathematics. Books were given to everybody. Reading time: we would get turns to read.
The first started to stammer through the first page and I already stopped listening. I read on myself. The book was not bad at all and soon I got a bit in it. Till...
"Albert, will you take over?" Oops, where did the last one stop?
"I would prefer that you stick with us, Albert."
"Yes, sir", I could feel that my face was flushed. I hated that, why couldn't he just leave me alone?
The boy sitting near me whispered the page to me and the teacher said: "The baker...". So I went on for one page until the teacher said: "Jan". I found again where I had to stop and read on.
"Okay, all close your books and listen. Next week we will have our annual school trip, you will get a letter from me to give to your parents. They will want to prepare things for you, I'm sure."
My parents were almost as excited as the children in my classroom when I gave them the letter. It was very nice for me and we would have great fun on the trip. I was looking forward to the rolls I could take along. Mum always made these lovely white ones with cheese and ham. So much nicer than the usual grey dull bread we normally ate.
On the day of the trip we had to get to school fifteen minutes earlier. And of course we all were there half an hour before the normal time. Everybody was very excited. We were directed to the classroom first and waited till the bus arrived. "Blossom Trips" it said on the side and next to it were painted flowers. When we got in, we saw the children from other classes looking at us from their classroom. Some were waving a bit, trying not to annoy their teachers.
Most boys fought to get in and the teacher could not get order by getting them to queue anymore. I got in after them while the girls were having their normal discussion about who was going to set next to who.
Most boys were way in the back and I got a seat a bit in the middle of the bus and put my backpack on the empty seat next to me. Last year one of the parents who went along sat next to me and tried to start a conversation. I didn't want that again, I wasn't miserable or such, just didn't care. But I was saved by a girl who wanted to sit near her two best friends, so they sort of sat together. It was very okay for me.
When we all were in the bus we waved to some parents who stood next to the bus. The teacher grabbed the microphone and explained some things and the driver took over and made some jokes.
The trip was to a forest and the forester explained a lot to us. Some things I already knew: we had been living on the edge of a forest some years. But it was interesting listening to him. So when we had to form circles around him, I was often very close to him.
After the tour through the forest, we went to a big playground. We were told: "Have fun!" and the teacher and most of the parents went inside the restaurant next to the playground. I found a nice bench and enjoyed my rolls. One of the parents came to me and sat next to me. She told me that we were supposed to have our lunch together, we would have lemonade with it. And I should play with the other children. I just shrugged and finished the rolls. She went away and later I saw her talking to the teacher and pointing at me.
So lunch was just lemonade for me. It was quite nice, tasted like apple juice. I was sitting next to some boys who told me that they had been up the climbing tower at the edge of the playground. You could see Amsterdam from there! I knew this was rubbish, but I didn't say so. After lunch there was some more time to play and then it was time to get in the flowery bus again.
The girl this time wasn't sitting next to me. She sat together with another one. They must have become friends on the playground. Bad luck! The same woman who came to sit on the bench with me joined me. She started a conversation, but probably became bored with me. I wasn't very talkative. She went over to the other parents and sat next to a man. This was very okay with me. This way I could look at the landscape rushing by. And I started to think about the boys in my book. Maybe I could let them do something in a forest.
It was not that late before I saw that we were in our village again. Almost home.
Oh no, the normal thing! Everybody had to hide in the bus. So we all dived below the window level.
The bus arrived and the teacher got out and we heard him say loudly: "Sorry parents, we couldn't find them anymore." And then the whole bunch got up and ran screaming and shouting to the waiting parents. I wasn't in a hurry, knew that my parents would not be there. They never were and I knew my way home, so what was the point?
While I walked home I saw the little groups of parents and children in front of me. And slowly they disappeared, going in their own directions.
"Did you have fun?" , Mum asked.
"Yes", I said, "the rolls were delicious".